Gail steps up security around pipelines in AP

Just days after the pipeline explosion in the Nagaram village of East Godavari killed 19 people, Gail stepped up safety measures by deploying teams to conduct patrols in and around its facilities in the Krishna Godavari Basin.

Since its pipeline exploded in the region, the public sector gas behemoth has been facing allegations of violating international safety norms.

If pipelines are laid down in areas of human habitation, norms dictate that there should be gas detectors, alarm systems and a 24-hour helpline, which allegedly were not put in place in the blast-struck village.

Gail, however, has maintained that it had taken all international safety measures at its Andhra Pradesh facilities.

A company official said that its foot soldiers were equipped with gas detectors at “every inch” of the pipelines in the region.

In one of the worst accidents in Gail’s history, 20 people were killed and several others injured after a gas pipeline leak translated into a deathly blast following the lighting of a match by an unsuspecting bystander. The gas flowing in the pipeline was supplied by the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

In a statement on Monday, Gail said that it had started compensating affected people in the area.

But critics have held the company for its lapses, with industry experts saying that residential areas should not be considered for pipeline operation.

Rights activists have alleged that Gail does not take over the land where it constructs projects, but instead compensates owners. This way, the land’s owner, who besides paying tax, would be held responsible in case of a mishap.

Gail has agreed to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to each of the deceased’s families and Rs 50,000 to the injured in Friday’s blast.

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